Olympique Lyonnais Feminin: The best in women’s football
Since the 2010s, Lyon has frequently been named the strongest women’s team globally and has been cited as a model for the development of women’s football in both economic and cultural terms. The team has won seven Champions League titles, including a record five successive titles from 2016 to 2020 and 14 consecutive domestic league titles from 2007 to 2020. They have also won five trebles when the top-level continental competition is considered the most for any team.
The growth and domination of Olympique Lyonnais Feminin laid a foundation for the development of women’s football around the world. They used to dominate Europe and changed the perspective of people about women’s football.
Before becoming Olympique Lyonnais Feminin in 2004, the club was founded as FC Lyon in 1970 and claimed four league titles between 1991-1998. Over the past 17-years, the Lyon women’s team has established itself as the best club side globally, breaking records and dominating the women’s game. Olympique Lyonnais claimed their first league title under their new name in 2007, finishing 7pts clear of Montpellier in 2nd and only losing one and drawing one of their 22 matches. Thus began Olympique Lyonnais’ total dominance of Division 1.
Olympique Lyonnais entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 2013 after the club secured 41 consecutive wins in the league and cup between 28th April 2012 to the 18th May 2013. The club have also won a record 9 Coupe de France titles since 2008 and claimed the Trophee des Championnes in 2019.
Sandrine Bretigny proved one of the club’s best-ever players during this spell of constant success, netting 211 goals in 241 appearances between 2000-2012. Bretigny’s best season arrived in 2006/07 during the club’s first title success as Olympique Lyonnais, in which she played in all 22 league games and scored an impressive 42 goals.
In more recent years, Olympique Lyonnais have relied upon the goals of Norwegian international Ada Hegerberg. Hegerberg signed for the club in 2014 from Turbine Potsdam in Germany and proved an immediate success. During her first season, Hegerberg netted 34 goals in 32 games and has only failed to score more goals than games played in a season in two of her six campaigns with the club, which includes the season that was cut short due to the global pandemic.
This success can partially be credited to their President, Jean-Michel Aulas, who has been committed to gender equality in the sport since creating Olympique Lyonnais Féminin in 2004. He wanted to bring as much success to the female team as to the male one, which was ambitious knowing that the male team won the domestic title 7 times consecutively between 2002 and 2008.